The casting machine continues with Christopher Nolan’s third film in the trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises as The Hollywood Reporter has a new piece out indicating that Josh Pence has signed on to play Ra’s Al Ghul during a flashback scene when the character was younger. And alive. He was played by Liam Neeson in the first movie and according to the report here, Pence’s part will have the character thirty years prior to the storyline taking place in the present, to build some sort of foundation for things.
The cast currently stands at Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman returning from the previous outings and now being joined by Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cottilard along with this new casting.
Character overview from Wikipedia: Ra’s al Ghul is an international terrorist and assassin whose ultimate goal is a world in perfect environmental balance. He believes that the best way to achieve this balance is to eliminate most of humanity. Ra’s usually tries to assault the world’s human populace with a biological weapon, such as a genetically-engineered virus. He is aided in this quest by the Lazarus Pits, reservoirs of rejuvenating chemicals that restore the dying to life; these pits have granted him a lifespan of several centuries.
He regards Batman (whom, out of respect for his intellectual brilliance, he addresses as “Detective”) as his most worthy opponent, and has frequently sought to make the Dark Knight his successor. He is one of the few criminals in Batman’s rogues gallery to have deduced his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. For his own part, Batman’s opposition to Ra’s is complicated by his attraction to the villain’s daughter, Talia.